10 questions with... Tom Goodwin, EVP, head of innovation at Zenith Media

Tom Goodwin answers The Drum’s 10 Questions

The media and marketing sector is ultimately about people. In this weekly series, The Drum speaks to professionals across the sector who are bringing something a little different to the industry and asks what little insights they can offer the rest of us. Tom Goodwin, Zenith’s executive vice-president, head of innovation answers this week’s 10 Questions.

What was your first job?

I did a paper round from at the age of 12 my local village shop, I remember being interested in how you could tell what paper people would get by looking at the house. I then rose up the ranks to working the till by the age of 16, on £2 per hour. Then I moved onto a sales role at Comet by 17, I probably learned more about marketing by meeting customers first hand and persuading them, than a year of training or going to conferences now.

In your opinion, who talks the most sense in the marketing industry?

We’ve got a sad divide in the industry right now, you either get known by effectively saying everything is different or fighting to show that things are the same. Only a few people seem to navigate the waters between the two extremes, who see things differently from others and who challenges convention wisely

It’s Rory Sutherland who without fail will make me do this.

You have to delete a social media app as your phone has run out of memory - what is the first to go and why?

I personally take zero interest in Facebook, I don’t like how people behave on it, I learn nothing from it, it seems to bring out the worst in people. I really can’t stand it and deleted it years ago. I’m also massively worried about the effect of Instagram on young people and comparing lifestyles and body image, but I use it a lot.

Both are great places to advertise however.

You decide to have a night in on the couch, what do you order for takeaway and how do you have it delivered?

My all time favorite food is Indian food, a Chicken Tikka Masala is my drug of choice, but assuming I’m in New York City where I live, Indian food is crap. So it would be Thai and by Seamless, often a Green Curry but I like to mix it up.

What element of your life has tech not yet made easier?

I want tech to make it easier to find people and events in the real word.

I’d love to see a way to discover and book entry last minute to relatively small and weird events, there are a billion ways to buy tickets to the bloody Blue Man Group, or Miss Saigon, but trying to find things in small theaters or pubs, or book signings or groups that play sport requires visiting a million websites each needing an account to buy tickets and dreadful admin fees,

Similarly I think I’d like to meet more interesting people and have more friends, these app tend to be tarnished as for losers, but there should be a way to just hang out with nice interesting people, spontaneously and chat. Raya shows some promise in this but it’s wanky as hell.

Who did you have posters of on your wall as a teenager?

My parents are hoarders with crap everywhere, so I rebelled by being a minimalist. I owned lots of speakers though, I got obsessed with Hifi at a young age, which I’d pipe my awful taste in music through.

Highlight of your career (so far?)

When I was about 25 I was asked to produce a project for Nokia called 'Spontaneous Stories', I was asked to find 20 notable people to meet and brief on making 2 to 5-minute films they could edit on the phone. The person to kick it off was Gary Oldman, so in true Adland excess I got to fly to Los Angeles all fancily, brief Gary, and spend a few days with him shooting his film. It was a rubber ring on a pool for 3-minutes, I bricked myself.

Which Industry soundbite have you heard that really resonated?

When Marshal McCluhan, said “we see the future thought the rear view mirror” he was right. We always see what’s happening in the context of the past. We recycle what we’ve made before and pull it through the frames of today. Mobile advertising is based on desktop advertising based on newspaper ads. If we’d made something new for the screen, the world would be different. We do this everywhere we look.

What’s the one question you never want to be asked?

'So you’ve said X, but what have you done about it?', because every time someone says this they are right. I feel vulnerable that I spend a long time being critical of what we’re doing and how we should change, and yet generally speaking I’ve failed to do this myself. It’s the honest answer and something I work hard to change.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

I’m not joking, Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrman was life changing for me. Honestly even now it gives me chills and inspiration.

Do one things every day that scares you is the best line in it.

Read further interviews in The Drum’s 10 Questions With... series.

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